It’s a huge week of games this weekend, unfortunately, most of them will be taking place at the same time as Oklahoma-Ohio State, so you’ll miss classics like Georgia at Notre Dame, Auburn at Clemson, Stanford at USC, and Chattanooga at LSU.
At least you’ll be able to catch Cincinnati and Michigan at noon.
Despite the big games, don’t expect anybody’s playoff hopes to come crumbling down — unless Florida State loses to UL-Monroe.
So who should you be rooting for this week with all of these big games floating around? We’ve got you covered.
Friday September 8
Teams: Ohio (1-0) at Purdue (0-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Purdue
I don’t even know why I’m bothering to write about this game since it’s entirely likely that I won’t get the Tip Sheet posted before your rooting interests begin. I trust that you’ll know to root for the Big Ten here. I’m actually looking forward to watching this game. Purdue is rejuvenated for me, which doesn’t do anything for them, but it does plenty for me. For instance, I no longer have a desire to iron my eyes shut so I don’t have to watch this game. The only thing that kept me from doing it during the Darrell Hazell Era was the fact that I don’t own an iron. The way I see it, if you can’t get wrinkles out by throwing clothes in the dryer, then those clothes are broken.
Purdue 34 – Ohio 17
Saturday September 9
Teams: Cincinnati (1-0) at No. 8 Michigan (1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Michigan
Yes, I know you’re rooting for Luke Fickell to get a win over Michigan, but it’s just not going to happen. Cincinnati beat Austin Peay 26-14 last week, but the Bearcats only managed 248 yards of total offense in the victory. That equates to about 83 yards of total offense against the Wolverines. Michigan’s cornerbacks were banged up last week, but they’d have to play defensive tackles at corner in order to make this one interesting.
Michigan 48 – Cincinnati 0
Teams: Iowa (1-0) at Iowa State (1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Iowa
The first game ever played between these two schools took place in 1899 and came about when then-Iowa governor Wilmont Bader wanted to show Iowa citizens a more peaceful way to argue about corn. Following the Second Great Des Moines De-tassling Massacre of 1898, Bader had grown tired of the constant arguing about who had the best corn in the state and the constant carnage that came from it. He wanted to show people that a more peaceful violence could solve any corn disagreements. It took people a while to come around to Bader’s vision, mostly because there’s only so many uses for a pitchfork and Iowans really like to stab. Eventually, people began to stop worrying about corn and instead began to equate their self-worth to how their favorite teams performed. An average of seven players died per game for the first decade of this rivalry, but it was still less violent than the average corn arguments around the state over the previous 30 years.
Iowa 20 – Iowa State 16
Teams: Northwestern (1-0) at Duke (1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Cheer For: Northwestern
This is the kind of game Northwestern loses, but Duke is not very good this year. Which really makes this the kind of game Northwestern loses. You can get into this game for $3 if you’re in the area and want to go beat up some nerds.
Duke 26 – Northwestern 23
Teams: FAU (0-1) at #9 Wisconsin (1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
Wisconsin has opened up the city of Madison for Florida Atlantic, so FAU will stick around after the game for a while and ride out Hurricane Irma from 1,500 miles away. To be honest, though, the Owls are going to be so distracted by what’s going on back home that they have no shot in this game. This is almost like someone who rescues refugees for the sole purpose of allowing rich people to hunt them.
Wisconsin 52 – FAU 14
Teams: Towson (1-0) at Maryland (1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Maryland
Maryland comes into this game following a big 51-41 win at Texas last week. Towson does not have a clickable link at ESPN.com, so I’m not even really sure if they exist. Terps’ tarting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome was lost for the season last week following a leg injury. True freshman Kasim Hill steps in for him now, which makes this game against Towson perfect scheduling.
Maryland 62 – Towson 21
Teams: Indiana (0-1) at Virginia (1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPNU)
Cheer For: Indiana
This will be an interesting test for Indiana’s resiliency. They lost a tough one last week to Ohio State, and now they have to hit the road for another Power 5 opponent. They’re favored by 3.5 points in this one. Virginia beat William & Mary 28-10 last week, which makes me think they shouldn’t score much this week against Indiana. Still, it’s Indiana on the road, which means anything can happen. If Richard Lagow and his receivers are as good as they looked last week, however, the Hoosiers should be just fine.
Indiana 34 – Virginia 24
Teams: Pittsburgh (1-0) at #4 Penn State (1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Penn State
Penn State is favored by 21.5 points in this one and they are looking for revenge following last season’s 42-39 loss to Pitt that would ultimately keep them out of the College Football Playoffs. Pitt looked extremely mediocre last week in an overtime win over Youngstown State. They were undoubtedly looking ahead to this game, but now that it’s here, they might not want to watch. It will be interesting to see what kind of a fight we get from the Panthers’ defense. You’ll be too busy rooting for Penn State to worry about the Pittsburgh defense, however.
Penn State 34 – Pittsburgh 17
Teams: Fresno State (1-0) at #1 Alabama (1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Fresno State
You can get into this game for six bucks. This would be a great time for a canned food drive to encourage more people to come to the game. Unfortunately, Alabama doesn’t allow canned food drives anymore because the last time they had one, people were stuffing roadkill into cans and showing up at the gate wanting their tickets. The University of Alabama found out on that day that you do not piss off a bunch of angry Alabamians with cans full of roadkill. Some people even lit their cans on fire before throwing them. “Merle-atov cocktails” they were called. They weren’t very effective, though. Anyway, no more canned food drives at Alabama.
Alabama 56 – Fresno State 7
Teams: Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Rutgers (0-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Rutgers
Rutgers is only a five-point favorite for a home game against Eastern Michigan, which barely still has football. This is a slap in the face to the entire state of New Jersey, which means that somebody is getting whacked. No kids and no wives, though. Those are the rules.
Rutgers 38 – Eastern Michigan 24
Teams: Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan State (1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Michigan State
Western Michigan stayed with USC for four quarters last week, which no doubt caught Michigan State’s attention. The Spartans didn’t stay with much of anybody for four quarters last year, save for the Buckeyes. If Michigan State isn’t going to fold again this year, they have to win this game. The Broncos ran the ball well against USC, but things should be tougher this week. I also expect the MSU running game to get going this week. This is a must win for Michigan State, which sounds crazy.
Michigan State 31 – Western Michigan 20
Teams: San Jose State (1-1) at Texas (0-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (LHN)
Cheer For: Texas
Five dollars will get you into this game, and another five will get you out. Texas fans stayed home last week because they apparently knew what was coming. They’ll be staying away from this one as well because that’s just the kind of program they have right now. It’s a superficial place that used to be something great — just like the Austin music scene.
Texas 38 – San Jose State 17
Teams: Nebraska (1-0) at Oregon (1-0)
Time (TV): 4:30 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Nebraska
Oregon is favored by 13 points in this one. Autzen Stadium is a familiar place for Nebraska head coach Mike Riley, but it’s never been all that welcoming to him. The Huskers won this game 35-32 last year in Lincoln, so there will be some revenge being sought here. Sophomore running back Tre Bryant rushed for 192 yards last week for Nebraska in an unnecessarily-close 43-36 win over Arkansas State. The Ducks, meanwhile, put it on Southern Utah 77-21. Yes, there is a Southern Utah and that’s not a school I just totally made up. If Nebraska is giving up 36 points to Arkansas State, how many are they going to give up to Oregon?
Oregon 44 – Nebraska 31
Teams: #13 Auburn (1-0) at #3 Clemson (1-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Auburn
Kelly Bryant is Clemson’s new starting quarterback and people are calling him a more athletic Deshaun Watson. He’s a junior, but finally got his first extensive action last week against Kent State. He completed 16-of-22 passes for 236 yards and rushed for 77 yards on seven carries, including a 47-yarder where he looked like a much faster Deshaun Watson. The Auburn defense, however, is a step up from Kent State. We’ll find out a whole lot more about Bryant this week. Auburn held an overmatched Georgia Southern offense to just 78 yards last week. Neither Clemson or Auburn received a test last week, which is what makes this game so interesting. It’s an unknown about to be known. I’m siding with Clemson’s defensive line, however, because they are most definitely known.
Clemson 28 – Auburn 24
Teams: South Carolina (1-0) at Missouri (1-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Missouri
Missouri gave up 43 points to Southwest Missouri State last week, which equates to about 24 points for South Carolina. The Gamecocks come into this game following an impressive 35-28 win over a hyped-up North Carolina State team. South Carolina has players named Rico and Deebo, so you know they have to be pretty good at breakdancing. The winner of this game is in the driver’s seat in the SEC East, which is a lot like being in the driver’s seat of garbage barge that used to be a luxury liner.
South Carolina 37 – Missouri 34
Teams: #15 Georgia (1-0) at #24 Notre Dame (1-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (NBC)
Cheer For: Notre Dame
Georgia lost their starting quarterback Jacob Eason to an injury last week, but true freshman Jake Fromm is ready to take over. The Bulldogs will be going up against a Notre Dame defense that held Temple to just 330 total yards last week. The Irish offense, meanwhile, put up over 600 yards of total offense behind new starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Wimbush threw for 184 yards and rushed for 106 last week. This will be a considerable step up in competition for the Irish, but Wimbush is a star in the making. The bigger question is whether the Notre Dame defense can stop the Georgia running attack. This is a huge stage for Fromm to be making his first start, but he was in for the spring and played most of the game last week, completing 10-of-15 passes for 143 yards. It’s too bad nobody will be watching this game because it’s not too often you get to see an SEC team travel north of the Mason-Dixon line. Also don’t overlook all of the legal issues going on around Notre Dame and Brian Kelly right now. It has to have been a distraction for him.
Notre Dame 31 – Georgia 27
Teams: #5 Oklahoma (1-0) at #2 Ohio State (1-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Ohio State
I don’t see Oklahoma being able to stop Ohio State’s running attack, which means the OSU passing game will eventually hit some big shots as well. On the flip side, the Buckeyes won’t be able to stop Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield, but they know how to contain him better than anybody else. The Ohio State secondary will be tested in different ways than they were last week when they gave up over 400 yards passing to the Hoosiers. The Sooners will need to run the ball to win this game, which the Hoosiers couldn’t do a week ago. There is also the matchup between Urban Meyer and Lincoln Riley, and I know which way I’m leaning on that one.
Ohio State 42 – Oklahoma 17
Teams: Western Kentucky (1-0) at Illinois (1-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Illinois
Western Kentucky is favored by a touchdown in this game, which is pretty damn ridiculous. I mean, it’s correct, but it’s ridiculous that a Big Ten team would be this much of an underdog against a Group of 5 directional school. That’s a fireable offense in my book. It might even be the first chapter. The second chapter would be Never Hire Lovie Smith. Illinois beat Ball State by a field goal last week and were probably lucky to do it. If WKU wins this game, this is the beginning of the end for Smith.
Western Kentucky 34 – Illinois 24
Teams: #14 Stanford (1-0) at #6 USC (1-0)
Time (TV): 8:30 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: USC
You’re cheering for USC because they have a more difficult schedule than Stanford and are more likely to have a loss down the road. Stanford’s schedule, meanwhile, doesn’t have many possible losses after this one, so it’s best to get them one right now. The USC defense was terrible last week, allowing Western Michigan to rush for over 200 yards. Stanford’s running game is better, so USC might be in trouble. That being said, the Trojans could have been looking ahead to this game. If they don’t block and tackle, however, they’ll be looking forward to the Holiday Bowl. This is the start of USC quarterback Sam Darnold’s Heisman campaign because last week’s poor performance will be forgotten entirely with a good game here.
USC 38 – Stanford 34
Teams: Minnesota (1-0) at Oregon State (1-1)
Time (TV): 10:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Minnesota
Minnesota was not impressive last week, but they came away with a 17-7 win over Buffalo. This trip to Oregon State is a different animal, however. Speaking of animals, in the wild, I’m taking a beaver over a gopher every day. I always thought gophers were like smaller groundhogs, but they’re only about the size of rats. A beaver could take at least six gophers, I bet. They don’t look tough at all.
Oregon State 23 – Minnesota 20